As a long time Putty user, I love how upon selecting a text it gets copied into the buffer and upon right clicking it gets pasted back in.

Is there a way to configure Terminal to behave the same way?

  • I like that feature, too - but ⌘-C ⌘-V is pretty quick :)
    – warren
    Jan 14, 2015 at 15:37
  • Use iTerm2 as described here
    – dbaltor
    Sep 23, 2021 at 8:49

6 Answers 6


Terminal is limited in its configurability but iTerm2 is a Terminal replacement that does what you ask and more. Including bookmarks for ssh sessions not unlike puTTY.

  • Looks interesting. How to you set cut and paste up as i described though? I don't see this under Preferences
    – JAM
    May 15, 2011 at 0:18
  • Preferences windows -> General tab. Make sure Copy to clipboard on selection is checked under the Mouse section.
    – Ian C.
    May 15, 2011 at 0:31
  • iTerm is the best. +1 May 15, 2011 at 0:50
  • @Ian That will copy to the clipboard when text is hilighted, but won't paste on a right click. It brings up the context menu. It doesn't look like there is an option to do this, but it seems useful.
    – KeithB
    May 15, 2011 at 14:04
  • 1
    2 KeithB: in iTerm2 go to "Options -> General -> install test-release updates (or something like this)", check for updates, install last test-release ( by now) and get new option "Right button single click -> Paste from Selection" in Options -> General -> Pointer. I spend half an hour after migrating to new Mac finding this :) Good luck! May 19, 2014 at 10:42

If you have a three-button mouse (e.g., the Apple Mighty Mouse scroll ball can act as a third button), Terminal will paste the current selection if you Middle-Click (just like X11 and xterm). It is the same as invoking the Edit > Paste Selection command, which has the keyboard shortcut Shift-Command-V.

As of OS X 10.8, selecting text in a terminal copies the text to a pasteboard and Paste Selection pastes the contents of this pasteboard (akin to X11’s PRIMARY). It now behaves very much like xterm under X11. As a result, Paste Selection and Middle-Click are now available when there is no selection, pasting the same text until something else is selected, and the text persists when quitting/reopening Terminal. The pasteboard has the identifier com.apple.Terminal.selection and is available to other programs.

Also, you can drag-and-drop selected text to Paste it. You can of course drag to other terminal windows (or other applications), but you can also just drag a few pixels and then release to Paste into the current terminal.

  • Shift+Cmd+V still works on Ventura.
    – Mausy5043
    Apr 28, 2023 at 5:41

NO need to download anything. In Terminal do

  1. select text to copy
  2. to paste, click the middle button of the mouse, or (cmd + shift + v)

I just tried in Yosemite.

Also works in High Sierra.


shift-⌘-V works on El Capitan. Feel free to edit if you have information about earlier releases


Highlight the command and press Shift-Cmd-V to paste the highlighted data.


Simply install http://totalterminal.binaryage.com/ which includes both these options in the preferences.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .